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The warm weather and sunshine in California after coming from the blustery early-spring snow storm in Illinois is amazingly refreshing. I couldn’t put my finger on what made it so nice to just be outside until I realized I was surrounded by flowers and trees and color. It took me a minute to catch on but once I did, I wanted to soak it all in.
Warm and beautiful weather always makes me crave salads. As I was scouring Sacramento for rental places (now moving closely to the top of “things Erin hates to do list”), I popped into the food co-op to grav something for lunch. I went in with no plan and this salad is what manifested itself as I walked through the produce section.
I even had avocados in my basket and ended up trading them in for the beets. Strange, maybe, but I’ve been craving beets lately. I’ve also been on a rather large blue cheese kick as of late and I have to say, lemon + blue cheese= magic.
I think this salad would be lovely with any grain. The bulk bin section as the co-op was a bit busy when I stopped by and originally I was headed for quinoa but landed on the orzo instead.
This salad is fairly quick to throw together and roasting the veggies/making the orzo can be done ahead of time.
Roasted Beets, Blue Cheese Orzo, & Walnut Salad
- 3-4 large beets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice, about 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup orzo
- 3-4 handfuls lettuce
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
- Preheat oven to 400˚.
- Cut beets into half-moon, 1/4" slices. Toss with olive oil and salt. Place in a single layer in a roasting pan and roast until tender, 20-25 minutes.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, add orzo and cook until tender, 10-15 minutes. Remove, drain, and place in a bowl and let cool slightly.
- In a bowl or food processor, mix together blue cheese crumbles, olive oil, honey, and lemon juice, the mixture will be very thick. Once orzo has cooled slightly, stir blue cheese mix into orzo until well combined. Set aside and let cool.
- To assemble salad, carefully toss together lettuce and orzo. Sprinkle beets on top, finishing with toasted walnuts and extra blue cheese if desired.
by Erin Alderson